1-minute animation: What is a cancer stem cell?
By Ben Paylor and Mike Long, PhD | Posted on 30 March 2015
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are cancer cells that have all the classical properties of normal stem cells. Specifically, they are able to both give rise to more copies of themselves (self renewal) and to give rise to all cell types found in the cancer (differentiation). Of all the cancerous cells in a tumor, CSCs are thought to be tumorigenic (tumor-forming), perhaps in contrast to other non-tumorigenic cancer cells. Because of this, if CSCs are not eliminated by radiotherapy or chemotherapy, they are able to cause relapse and metastasis by giving rise to new tumors.